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DOE Projects Aim To Improve Carbon Capture Tech, Curb Emissions

Photo Courtesy Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations

One way to improve sustainability at scale is to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the atmosphere and store them in the ground, where they can’t harm the environment. That’s the goal of a United States Department of Energy (DOE) initiative to fund three different projects designed to capture, transport, and store carbon emissions.

In December 2023, DOE’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) announced up to $890 million in funding for the projects, which will be located in California, North Dakota, and Texas. 

Photo Courtesy Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations 

The funding was made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. According to the OCED, the three projects have the potential to curb CO2 emissions from three power plants by preventing roughly 7.75 million metric tons of emissions from being released into the atmosphere each year. That’s the equivalent of the yearly CO2 emissions of 1.7 million gasoline-powered cars.

Dubbed the Carbon Capture Demonstration Projects Program, it aims to advance integrated carbon capture, transport, and storage technologies and infrastructure that can be deployed at power plants and in “hard-to-decarbonize” heavy industries. The goal is to help the U.S. achieve a net-zero emissions economy in the coming decades.

Photo Courtesy Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations

According to DOE estimates, hitting that goal will require capturing and storing between 400 million and 1.8 billion metric tons of CO2 a year from emissions sources by 2050.

 Once completed, the selected projects are expected to help reduce emissions from the power sector, which accounts for more than 25% of U.S. carbon emissions.

The Power Engineering website noted new legislation has “significantly increased annual funding” for such efforts over the last couple of years. According to a recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed in 2021 provides $8.2 billion in advance appropriations for carbon capture/storage programs over the 2022–2026 period.

Photo Courtesy CBO 

According to the DOE, funding applicants were required to submit Community Benefits Plans to help ensure “meaningful community and labor engagement” in carbon management technologies while addressing environmental burdens in partnership with communities. Projects selected for the carbon capture awards are the following:

  • Baytown Carbon Capture and Storage Project (Texas): This project aims to capture CO2 from the Baytown Energy Center, a natural gas combined-cycle plant in Baytown, Texas. According to Power Engineering, it would use Shell’s CANSOLV solvent to capture carbon. It would then be transported through new and existing pipelines and sequestered in storage sites on the Gulf Coast. Power generation company Calpine will lead the Baytown CCS project, while German plastics company Covestro will be the primary power purchaser. Power Engineering reported Calpine expects the project to capture up to 2 million metric tons of CO2 per year.
  • Project Tundra (North Dakota): Project Tundra is being developed next to the Milton R. Young Station, a coal-fired plant near Center, North Dakota. According to Power Engineering, this project plans to use Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ KS-21 solvent to capture CO2 that would be permanently stored in saline geologic formations beneath and surrounding the power plant. The project’s sponsors include Minnkota Power Cooperative and TC Energy. It’s projected to capture an annual average of 4 million metric tons of CO2.
  • Sutter Decarbonization Project (California): As Power Engineering noted, the project aims to “demonstrate and deploy a carbon capture system at the Sutter Energy Center” near Yuba City, California. The project would use ION Clean Energy’s ICE-21 solvent to capture the CO2 and then permanently store it more than a half-mile underground in saline geologic formations.


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